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As A Man Thinketh...

"For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. As one who reckons, he says to you, eat and drink, yet his heart is not with you (but is grudging the cost)." Prov. 23:7 (Amplified)

The book of Proverbs is a book of wisdom written by Solomon, the wisest fool who ever lived. In this verse, he is saying that if our hearts aren't true, our thoughts and actions will follow suit. This would describe the actions of a hypocrit. When we hear this word, we all tend to shrink away and say, "Not me, no sir, I'm no hypocrit!" What exactly is a hypocrit? Well, Jesus first used this word to describe the actors who hid behind masks. They would show one thing on the outside, but were hiding something else underneath. In other words, they could not be trusted. It was all an act. Do you know anyone like that?

We play church because we are told to keep things to ourselves, heaven forbid if you let your guard down. We will compliment others or act like we have concern for them, but in reality we carry other deep seeded emotions that just couldn't care less. Or we will lead others to believe that we are doing just fine, when in reality we are slowly dying inside. But, who are we benefiting when we behave this way? It's certainly not ourselves, and certainly not others. This will eventually lead to great pain, for us and for someone else.

We call ourselves Christians and still we do these things. Part of why we aren't honest with ourselves and others is because we just know it will end up in a conversation down the road. People take joy in our strife. And if we hear of anything, we will discuss it with others and always have a quick word of advice for that person, but unfortuneately it's not to their face. We think nothing of talking about them behind their backs.

Why is this is so terrible you might ask. As long as no one gets hurt right? Even though it might not be intended to hurt, it will do just that when it gets back to the person of interest. They will automatically take on an attitude of defense or offense. No one wants to be talked about. This form of conversation just doesn't accomplish anything good.

This is exactly why Paul says that unless we strip ourselves of our former nature, which characterizes a life of corruption through lusts and desires, we will only be kidding ourselves. (Eph. 4:22). He goes on to say this falsity must be rejected and done away with. If we express anything at all, let it solely be the truth. Since we are of one body of Christ, we have to be honest. (Eph. 4:25).

How is this possible? We are only human and we make mistakes. Yes, and that is why we strip ourselves of this sinful nature in the first place. Paul tells us how this is possible when he tells us to "constantly" be renewed in the spirit of our minds. What we think on, we will eventually become remember? So, as a newly regenerated person created in Christ's image, we must reflect His true righteousness and holiness. (Eph. 4:24). Our thoughts determine our actions and our actions determine who we truly are in Christ and Christ in us. We can't play pretend when it comes to this kind of behavior.

You've heard the phrase, "Actions speak louder than words". What if these actions were meant to cause harm? Or what if these actions were a blessing to someone? Which person would you trust?

God's first commandment under the new law order of Christ was and still is to love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your body and with all your mind. You can't love God if you are thinking of negative thoughts. The second commandment is like it, which is to love your neighbor as yourself.

Unless you can truly think on positive thoughts and how you can truly serve others, you can't please God. God sees the heart, so you can put on the biggest brightest smile and fool everyone else, you won't fool God. He knows your motives.

As long as there are thoughts of resentment, unforgiveness, hatred, offense, and regret in your heart, your mind will convince you that this behavior is normal. You will become what your heart thinks. It will end up making a bitter, shriveled up person who won't be able to see the positive side to anything.

Sin stems from these negative thoughts and when they are expressed into words, people will get hurt. Is there a way to fight this? Yes, of course there is. First of all, think before you act. What should you think about?

Again, Paul says, "Whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence, and whatever is honorable and seemly, whatever is just , whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on, and weigh and take account of these things (fix your mind on them)". Phil. 4:8 (Amplified)

It takes practice on our part. The flesh is naturally wicked, but as we continue to walk with Christ, we get stronger as He takes us glory to glory. Through prayer and daily reading of God's word, we will achieve this behavior and won't have to think twice about it. We can be sincere when we are concerned for someone's welfare. We can be told things in confidence and never think of repeating it. We will automatically take it to God in prayer.

Let your conscience be your guide. A conscience is a trustworthy compass when God's Word is your true north.

Vivian Gordon is a prayer intercessor and writer. She is inspired by the Holy Spirit to encourage others in a stronger walk with Christ.

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While John Young, who died on Jan. 5 at age 87 , is famous for his Apollo 16 moonwalks and his role as commander of the first space shuttle mission, the NASA astronaut is also remembered for a small scandal he triggered with a sneaky act: smuggling a corned-beef sandwich into space.
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